I had the opportunity to dive both the Gulf of Thailand in Koh Tao and also the Andaman Sea side when I was in Phuket and Koh Lanta. Both were great diving experiences. I started my diving journey on Koh Lanta where I did a Discover Scuba Dive experience with ScubaFish. Elaine was my instructor, and she was amazing! We had a half day session in the pool then the next morning we took a boat out to Koh Phi Phi to dive to a maximum of 12 meters. It was such a great experience that after I went directly to Koh Tao to get my Open Water Diver certification, then headed back to stay in Phuket for a month and did a few days of diving while I was there. I had the opportunity to explore eight different dive sites.
A small island off the south end of Koh Phi Phi is one of the best wall dives one can discover. With a depth of 32 meters, it is a great place for all levels of divers to explore. You’ll see plenty of fish swimming around the large, colorful sea fans and sponge barrels. It’s also home to Moray Eels so you should be able to spot one or two on your dive.
LOH SAMAH BAY
This site, located on the east side of Koh Phi Phi is popular with snorkelers and divers alike. This wall dive is perfect forthe open water diver as it descends to a maximum of 20 meters. Try to go in low season when the boats aren’t so abundant. During high season, you will find upwards of 20-30 boats and long tails all grabbing a spot to drop their snorkelers and divers in.
Just Northeast of Koh Phi Phi this passenger ferry found itself many miles off course and slammed into Anemone Reef in 1997. Some say it was done on purpose as the reef is shallow and the captain should have known to steer away from it. This dive site is now one of the most popular sites near Phuket. It has multiple decks and plenty of space for you to swim through without disturbing the sealife. It’s perfect for advanced divers as it sits between 12-30 meters.
Northeast of Koh Phi Phi is a dive site that is part of a marine sanctuary. The site got it’s name for the leopard sharks that often visit the site. There is a lot of beautiful coral and schools of fish to be seen at this site. The depth is 0-25 meters, perfect for both open water divers and advanced divers.
KOH DOC MAI
Half way between Phuket and Koh Phi Phi is Koh Doc Mai, which means “Flower Island” The island is made of a big limestone rock that rises out of the water and is un-habited by humans. It is a sloping wall dive with both hard and soft coral that goes down to 25 meters. You can easily swim around half the island in one tank if you go slow to explore the sea life. There are also a few caves to explore. It’s suitable for both open water divers as the west side only goes to 18 meters where the east side drops down to 25 meters for the Advanced divers to explore.
The east side on Racha Noi is known as Banana Bay, getting it’s name from all the banana trees that grow on that side of the island. It’s a gently sloping hard coral reef down to 25 meters. Plenty of sea anemones live on the rocks, and you may even spot Nemo. You can explore the North and South end during two dives.
The other Racha Island ‘Yai’ is an hour boat ride from Racha Noi. You can do both islands in one day by taking the boat between during surface intervals. Lha Bay is on the east side of the island and gradually drops to 30 meters where you’ll find a sunken ship you can swim through with a proper guide.